A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 28, 2015
Incandescent District (Broadway)

Broadway’s bright lights gave it the nickname “Incandescent District.” The term “Incandescent District” has been cited in print since at least 1905. Broadway columnist Walter Winchell (1897-1972) used “The Incandescent District” in 1927.

Other nicknames for Broadway and its bright lights include “Bulb Belt,” “Great White Way,” “Mazda Lane” and “Tungsten Territory.”


Wikipedia: Broadway (Manhattan)
Broadway /ˈbrɔːdweɪ/ is a road in the U.S. state of New York. Perhaps best known for the portion that runs through the borough of Manhattan in New York City, it actually runs 13 mi (21 km) through Manhattan and 2 mi (3.2 km) through the Bronx, exiting north from the city to run an additional 18 mi (29 km) through the municipalities of Yonkers, Hastings-On-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, and Tarrytown, and terminating north of Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
1 January 1905, The Sunday Telegraph(New York, NY), “Maxine Elliott Coming East,” pg. 12, col. 1:
After a long tour of the West and British Columbia, Maxine Elliott and the other members of “her Own Way” company are headed once more in the direction of the Incandescent District.

24 October 1909, Washington (DC) Post, “Wines to Cost More” (From the New York Herald), editorial section, second part, pg. 4, col. 6:
Residents of the incandescent district refused to become interested in the tariff discussion which agitated the country for three or four months, ...

10 December 1911, The Sunday News (Denver, CO), “Hotel Hires Chemist to Tell What’s in Food and Drink,” sec. 1, pg. 11, col. 3:
NEW YORK, Dec. 9.—Broadway sat up and made a variety of observations yesterday when the news was spread that the Hotel Knickerbocker had decided to add a chemist to its staff of employes and maintain a thoroughly equipped laboratory.
(...)
It didn’t take long for the report to circulate through the incandescent district, and last night the air was filled with reports about unique innovations to be tried in some of the other hotels and restaurants.

31 October 1920, Kansas City (MO) Star, “In the New York Theaters,” pg. 20C, col. 4:
The Apollo, a new theater for New York’s incandescent district, will open soon with Frances White starred in “Jimmie,” a musical comedy.

Chronicling America
7 November 1920, Washington (DC) Times, pg. 24, col. 6:
Soon the drab little theatre proved unequal to the task of caring for its audiences and the Follies moved up to the incandescent district on Broadway to the Nora Bayes Theatre.

Google Books
27 November 1927, Vanity Fair, “A Primer of Broadway Slang” by Walter Winchell, pg. 134, col. 4:
Broadway is known as ‘The Main Stem’. Abel Green, a theatrical reporter, calls it “Mazda Lane” and others refer to Broadway as “The Incandescent District”; “Tungsten Territory”, “The Big Artery”, and “Coffee Pot Canyon”.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
25 May 1936, Syracuse (NY) Journal, “On Broadway” by Walter Winchell, pg. 9, col. 2:
Broadway is known as “The Main Stem.” Abel Green, a theatrical reporter, calls it “Mazda Lane” and others refer to Broadway as “The Incandescent District,” “Tungsten Territory,” “The Big Artery,” “Coffee Pot Canyon.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Tuesday, April 28, 2015 • Permalink